Justin: 30 Days of Hope

A teen that loves card games and the outdoors but has a big hole to fill, wanting a mom and dad

There are more than 750 children who are ready for adoption in Virginia. They are ready to find a permanent and loving forever family. 10 News is sharing the stories of one child who needs a home every day in November in 30 Days of Hope. The children are all ages and races and were put into foster care due to no fault of their own. 2023 marks the seventh year 10 News is doing this series.

A teen that loves card games and the outdoors but has a big hole to fill, wanting a mom and dad.

Justin has been on 30 Days of Hope for the past few years. Jenna Zibton talked to him last year when he was 15 years old, and he’s still looking for a family.

Justin loves playing the game ‘Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon.’

We asked, what do you want people to know about you?

“That I am funny. I am trying to get trustworthy, be trustworthy. I’m not a mischievous kid. I used to be, but I’m not a mischievous kid. I actually want to have fun and have family that actually loves me and cares about me,” the teen said.

That family would include brothers, sisters, animals, a father and a mom if he could choose.

“Maybe go on outings, maybe play ‘Magic: The Gathering’ with them, talk to them. Go outside and if it’s fall, rake the leaves maybe or go driving and like a vacation or something like that to keep me occupied.”

We played Uno together and had a lot of fun laughing. Justin likes hip-hop music, gets As and Bs in school and likes math.

“I like math problems, like division with no remainders or, like, multiplication, stuff like that,” he said.

He also likes to, “Hang out with friends, play basketball, play football, walk around [and] listen to music.”

“Justin is a good kid. He’s very deserving, and very much wants a family to call his own. He excels in school, and he’s had a difficult past. However, he has grown from that and is very much capable of being a great part of somebody’s family,” said Cat Dennis, who has known him for four years as a Family Services Specialist for Bedford County. “It breaks your heart, definitely. However, I’ve seen him grow. I’ve seen him experience some laughing, experience some joys with him and had a lot of fun. But, ideally, I would love to see and witness that fun in a home, in a family home.”

She says a two-parent family would be best for the teen.

“One with some land. He loves to be outside. He loves pets. Ideally, he would love a snake. Not quite sure about that myself, but he would love a snake. He’s good with animals, really empathetic,” said Dennis.

“Justin is a hard-working individual. He is very caring and likes to look for the funny side of things. Family is very important to him. He’s missed his family for a very long time, and he’s at the stage of life where he’s really looking for it. He’s got a pretty big hole to fill,” said Jim McGee, Justin’s therapist who describes the teen as funny, clever, hardworking and a great problem solver.

“With support, he can do a lot and he wants goals for himself and wants to be able to achieve things, but doesn’t always have the belief in himself to do it on his own,” said McGee.

Dennis said she could see Justin camping, hiking and being on a football or basketball team, too.

There are about 5,000 children in Virginia’s foster care program and more than 750 of those children can be adopted. If you have questions about foster care/adoption, contact the VDSS Division of Family Services Adoption Recruitment Coordinator, at adoptioninquiries@dss.virginia.gov.

To see other 30 Days of Hope stories visit us here.

We also have a list of frequently asked questions about foster care and adoption including the qualifications, cost, and training required in this link.

About the Author:

You can see Jenna weekday mornings at the anchor desk on WSLS 10 Today from 5-7 a.m. She also leads our monthly Solutionaries Series, where we highlight the creative thinkers and doers working to make the world a better place.